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TWA Bankruptcy Stokes Interest In Boeing  
User currently offlineCargyvr From Canada, joined Jul 2006, 0 posts, RR: 0
Posted (15 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 2078 times:

SEATTLE (Reuters) - Boeing Co.'s (NYSE:BA - news) smallest bird in the sky may get a boost from an unlikely source: the bankruptcy of one of its best customers.

At least two airlines have inquired about 35 106-seat 717 jetliners on order from bankrupt Trans World Airlines Inc. (AMEX:TWA - news), which may come back on the market if a proposed merger with American Airlines parent AMR Corp. (NYSE:AMR - news) gets done.

AirTran Holdings Inc. (AMEX:AAI - news), which like TWA ordered 50 of the airplanes, and Midwest Express Holdings Inc. (NYSE:MEH - news) have said they might snap up TWA's 717s, which might be available at attractive prices.

``That (pricing), I would say, is among a number of issues associated with the 717 right now,'' said AirTran spokesman Jim Brown. ``We are in informal discussions and the primary reason is simply because there may be more 717s available.''

Boeing has already delivered 15 717s to TWA and about 30 to AirTran.

Orlando, Fla.-based AirTran, which is replacing its aging fleet with the ultra-efficient 717, could use the extra new planes to accelerate that process or to expand operations, possibly at National Airport in Washington, D.C.


By April Midwest Express will decide on $1 billion worth of new orders for 20 100-seat jets to replace DC-9s and MD-80s at its main airline plus 20 regional jets for its Skyway Airlines unit, which had planned to buy the discontinued 44-seat Fairchild Dornier 428JET.

Spokeswoman Lisa Bailey said Midwest Express was considering the 717 and a competing model, the A318, from Boeing rival Airbus Industrie ARBU.UL.

``The 717s have availability in mid-2002 and the A318 in 2003,'' she said, noting the airline had enough fleet flexibility to go with either model.

AMR has not yet decided the fate of the 35 undelivered TWA 717s. If it abandons them, it could spell an opportunity for Midwest Express.

``That's a possibility. It depends what happens with the 717 program. If TWA cancels, Boeing may decide not to go with the program,'' Bailey said.

But 717 marketing director Rolf Sellge rejected any notion of canceling the 717, long-postulated by industry experts.

``There is a fair amount of energy on the part of leadership in sales on the 717 program to really put it on the map,'' Sellge said, adding that Boeing still hopes to land a large order from a major airline to solidify the program.

Boeing inherited the 717 in 1997 when it bought rival McDonnell Douglas, which originally launched it as the MD-95, successor to the DC-9. It is the only commercial jet still built at the old McDonnell Douglas plant in Long Beach, Calif.

Slow Sales For 100-Seaters

Aside from the TWA and AirTran deals, which were reportedly done at big discounts from the current list price of $35 million per plane, Boeing has secured only 53 more orders with leasing companies and small airlines.

The A318, not yet in production, had generated 161 orders by Dec. 31, 2000, according to Airbus's web site (http://www.airbus.com). It enters service this year.

With no similar models in production, the 717 has suffered by comparisons to the A318, the smallest member of the popular A320 family, sharing some features that lower operating costs.

But the short-haul 717 has demonstrated outstanding fuel efficiency in its brief operating history, and may yet win over some cost-conscious airlines.

``We have been very happy with the airplane,'' AirTran's Brown said. ``We thought we would get 18 percent fuel efficiency over the DC-9, but it has been closer to 24 percent.''

AirTran and two other carriers, including one Asian airline, have even inquired about stretching the 717 to seat a few more passengers, but Boeing wants to nail down the 100-seat market before it proceeds.

``There are 2,600 airplanes out there that need replacement, 35-plus-year-old DC-9s and 737-200s,'' Sellge said. ``Somebody is going to grab this market. To give up on an airplane like this would be nuts.''

6 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineRayChuang From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 8360 posts, RR: 4
Reply 1, posted (15 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 2003 times:

In my opinion, besides the likely chance that the ex-TW 717-200's may end up at either Midwest Express (YX) or AirTran (FL), there is a very likely chance that both AA and NW will express interest in the plane.

AA's reason to consider the 717-200 is the fact that while AA currently likes the Fokker F100, Fokker is out of business and getting spares for the F100 may become increasingly expensive as the years go by. AA may end up having to buy as many as 100-120 712's as the F100's are phased out.

NW's reason to consider the 717-200 is the fact their DC-9 fleet is getting very old, and tougher FAA and ICAO regulations may make the NW D9 fleet obselete. Again, NW may have to buy 100-120 712's to replace their aging D9's.

User currently offlineTWA717_200 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (15 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 1981 times:

Seems like the 717/A318 thing has been cleared up among this group for ages now. WE all know that aside from seating capacity, they are two completely different aircraft with vastly different roles...

So it looks like now only Midwest Express and Reuters don't know the difference.

User currently offlineLowfareair From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (15 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 1950 times:

One quick correction: FL only has 17-18 712s right now, not 30.

User currently offlineWjcandee From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 6261 posts, RR: 24
Reply 4, posted (15 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 1931 times:

Correct: Airtran will have 30 717s by the end of 2001, but now only has 17 or 18 (depending on whether the 1-aircraft February delivery has occurred). However, Airtran restructured its delivery schedule for cash flow reasons AND because Boeing was expecting a big 717 order (rumoured to have been from UsAirways, and essentially killed once the UAL takeover was announced). Seems to me that there have to be at least a few potential delivery positions available if Airtran wants a few more planes sooner, regardless of what happens to the TWA order.

I love the 717. It's a great plane to fly on as a passenger; the air is soooooo clean and fresh, even with a full boat, and its acceleration and performance are really wonderful. I think that any talk of Midwest Express using the 318 because it's part of a "family" is moronic. If they want similar new-ish planes, then go pick up some very recent MD80s; they were being manufactured until last year, and have plenty of range for anything that Midwest Express would want to do with them (i.e. ME doesn't need transcontinental range, and it remains to be seen how passengers will respond to the torture of being on an A318 for 6 hours).


User currently offlineIflewrepublic From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 537 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (15 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days ago) and read 1901 times:

I think I may be one of the few people around here who would like to see the 717 enter our fleet. In a way, the DC-9 would be able to live on for many more years. I guess my reasons are purely nostalgic...nothing more, nothing less.


Aviation is proof that, given the will, we have the capacity to achieve the impossible.
User currently offlineTWA902fly From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 3200 posts, RR: 4
Reply 6, posted (15 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days ago) and read 1895 times:

I would rather be in a A318 for hours then a MD-80. And so would most other people who use Midwest Express... because teh A318 is much wider than the MD-80... shown by the 3-3 layour as opposed to 2-3. both will be 2-2 with Midwest Express, so even more room will be found on teh A318.

Chicago Illinois

And how do you know its torture? the first plane still hasnt been produced... sounds like youre beign very pro MCD/Boeing and anti Airbus.

life wasn't worth the balance, or the crumpled paper it was written on
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